The finest prize in MMA is up for grabs in the well-known match of UFC 260 as the consensus finest heavyweight champion in UFC historical previous takes on arguably the scariest knockout artist in the sport in a mountainous heavyweight title rematch.
Stipe Miocic has been there, seen it, done it, and has the UFC belts and records to expose it. He’s statistically the most animated heavyweight to ever rule the UFC’s top division, but he’s region to face off in opposition to a resurgent Francis Ngannou, who’s obvious to construct amends for his lopsided decision loss to Miocic at UFC 220 aid in 2018.
The heavyweight title conflict headlines the card, with co-well-known aid coming from a pivotal conflict at 170 kilos, as historical welterweight champion Tyron Woodley takes on rising Brazilian contender Vicente Luque.
UFC 260 takes region Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The well-known card airs on pay-per-watch following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
Sooner than the match, we seize a look at at four burning questions we’ll be in the hunt for solutions to when the warring parties seize to the cage.
When Stipe Miocic first faced Francis Ngannou at UFC 220, the observing world turned into fascinated to seem at how the man considered the finest heavyweight champion in UFC historical previous would take care of one of the most thunderous punchers the sport has ever seen. Because it turned into out, Miocic (20-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) coped reasonably brilliantly.
Miocic feeble a combination of his boxing and wrestling talents, plus a savvy war IQ, to totally befuddle Ngannou (15-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) en path to a five-spherical landslide decision settle. Many thought the war would seek for the end of Miocic’s heavyweight reign. As a exchange, he delivered arguably the most dominant performance of his total UFC profession.
Now Ngannou is aid wanting powerful more powerful than ever. Now he’s obtained Xtreme Couture’s Eric Nicksick in his nook, plus years of stable all-around MMA coaching at one of the top MMA gyms in the U.S. No stone has been left unturned in his present to position issues honest the second time around, but will it be ample?
On paper, Miocic would appear to retain the edge on the subject of everywhere the region develop a skillset standpoint. His boxing is sharper, his wrestling is better and his cardio is proven over the five-spherical duration. Ngannou has for sure gotten better, but is he now better than Miocic?
That punch vitality remains the gigantic leveler, and one stable connection from the tall Cameroonian would possibly maybe bring about a swift title change, but Miocic has tasted Ngannou’s vitality ahead of and lived to scream the legend. If he’s in the develop of shape we seen when he defeated Daniel Cormier twice in their yarn trilogy, it would possibly maybe perchance probably perchance be animated to seem at if he can withstand the vitality again.
Miocic has the talents, the savvy and the expertise. He’s additionally overwhelmed Ngannou decisively ahead of. Ngannou, meanwhile, has evolved as a fighter, whereas losing one of the punch vitality that made him the most feared man in the heavyweight division. Only one can streak away with the belt and the immoral moniker, “Baddest Man on the Planet.” Nonetheless which one will it be?
The evening’s co-well-known match bout represents something of a crossroads moment for both the males concerned. For Tyron Woodley, it’s the chance to expose that he’s accumulated a component at the top of the UFC welterweight division whereas, for Vicente Luque, it’s a chance to raise himself from fringe contender to a bonafide threat to the division’s most animated.
Woodley’s develop hasn’t been handsome. He’s dropped his closing three bouts as he lost his title to Kamaru Usman, then lost to Gilbert Burns, then obtained carried out by Colby Covington. A 3-war skid by no diagram looks handsome on any fighter’s resume, but the one caveat is the incontrovertible truth that every one three warring parties had been world championship-level operators. Luque (19-7-1 MMA, 12-3 UFC) has no longer yet attained that level, so the question is whether Woodley (19-6-1 MMA, 9-5-1 UFC) can turn aid the price of the Brazilian and retain his region at the engaging end of the division.
Luque has lost unswerving once in four years – a decision defeat to Stephen Thompson – but has otherwise seemed wonderful, and he’s coming into Saturday’s match on the aid of two knockout victories, so he’ll be bursting with confidence in opposition to a Woodley who has seemed a diminutive bit jaded in present appearances.
Will Luque continue his upward thrust by claiming the finest scalp of his UFC profession, or will Woodley rediscover the fire, and the develop, that seen him conquer the welterweight division and expose that “The Chosen One” accumulated has another title tear left in him?
Sean O’Malley looked as if it would be on a one-diagram mark to the top ahead of he ran into Marlon Vera and suffered the first defeat of his profession closing time out.
There had been mitigating situations – he picked up an injure mid-war that played its section in his eventual defeat – but O’Malley plans on bringing “The Suga Recent” aid to the settle column on Saturday evening.
On paper, at the least, he’ll occupy a prepared dance companion. Brazil’s Thomas Almeida turned into once considered a bantamweight champion of the future, but after a blistering originate to his UFC profession, his develop has hit the buffers a diminutive bit.
Almeida (22-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) has lost four of his closing five, together with each of his closing three, as his title ambitions occupy taken a extreme hit over the final few years. Now he’s desirous to position issues honest with a settle over one of the bantamweight division’s most hyped rising stars.
Almeida’s combating fashion virtually ensures O’Malley (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) will procure himself in a striking war, and he’s obvious to fancy his probabilities in that situation. Nonetheless Almeida has proven a penchant for the spectacular in the previous, and an peek-catching enact will likely be on the playing cards, irrespective of who wins.
Will O’Malley form another record-stealing performance, or can Almeida explode aid to develop with a mountainous settle?
With Valentina Shevchenko turning aid all-comers as the division’s dominant champion, the search is on for unique contenders to check “Bullet” thru 2021, and Saturday’s 125-pound bout between Miranda Maverick and Gillian Robertson would possibly maybe form a future contender to face the Kyrgyzstani champion later this 12 months.
Robertson’s grappling talents occupy already seen her surpass Ronda Rousey for the most submission finishes by a female fighter in UFC historical previous, but in Maverick (8-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) she’ll seize on an aggressive, properly-rounded newcomer who looks to occupy all the instruments at her disposal to be a future title challenger.
Maverick already has a well-known-spherical enact of Liana Jojua from UFC 254 below her belt, but is conscious of that victory over the unpleasant Canadian will propel her toward the division’s finest names. For Robertson (9-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC), meanwhile, it’s the opportunity to leap aid from her decision loss to Taila Santos at UFC Battle Night time 183 closing December.
Every ladies occupy the chance to circulate toward contender location at 125 kilos, but who’ll be making that soar with victory on Saturday evening?